THE ANCIENT MYSTERIES 183
But the most frightful test was when, in the more advanced degree, he had to face appalling creatures of the nether world during a time when he was made temporarily clairvoyant,
"The mind is affected and agitated in death just as it is in initiation into the Grand Mysteries; the first stage is nothing but errors and uncertainties, labourings, wanderings and darkness. And now, arrived on the verge of death and initiation, everything wears a dreadful aspect; it is all horrors, trembling and affrightment. But this scene once over, a miraculous and divine light displays itself . . . perfect and initiated they are free^ crowned, triumphant, they walk in the regions of the blessed," This passage was preserved by Stobaeus from an ancient record, and confirms the experience of all other initiates.
The ancient papyri picture the candidate being led to this stage by Anubis, jackal-headed god, Master of the Mysteries: it is Anubis who conducts him across the threshold of the unseen world, into the presence of terrifying apparitions.
The knowledge taught in these schools of initiation was passed down directly from the primitive revelation of the truth to the first civilizations, and it had to be protected so as to retain its purity. Thus, one may understand why these secrete were carehilly concealed and jealously guarded from the profane.
The condition into which the initiate-candidate was plunged must not be confused with ordinary sleep. It was a trance state which freed his conscious self; it was a magical sleep wherein he remained paradoxically awake, but to another world.
Moreover, to confuse such a sublime experience with the mental handiwork of the modern hypnotist would be a grave error. The latter plunges his subject into a strange condition which neither fully understands, whereas the hierophant of the Mysteries was in the possession of a secret traditional knowledge which enabled him to exercise his power as one fully armed with complete understanding. The hypnotist taps the subconscious mentality of his entranced subject down to a certain level, without himself sharing the change of condition, whereas the hierophant watched and controlled every such change by his own percipient powers. Above all,, the hypnotist is only able to elucidate from his subject such matters as concern our material world and life, or to perform abnormal feats with the material body. The hierophant went deeper, and could lead the mind of the candidate step by step through an experience